About Lena Yang

An avid reader and dog-petting enthusiast, Lena can often be found relaxing in the sun with a good cup of tea.

10 Royally Good Audiobooks for Fans of ‘The Crown’

In a year of great uncertainty, we can at least all take solace in the fact that The Crown will undoubtedly serve up a slice of really good television in November. From the gorgeous sets to glamorous fashions, Netflix’s flashy period drama just premiered its most momentous season yet. After all, it’s got Margaret Thatcher, the Falklands War, IRA attacks, and, of course, Lady Diana Spencer.

If you’re dying for more royal goodness after binging the latest season, check out our list of the best audiobooks to dive into for more drama and intrigue. From biographies to historical fiction, you’re bound to find your next perfect cup of royal tea.


The Gown by Jennifer Robson, narrated by Marisa Calin

Since its premiere in 2016, The Crown has held the title of the most expensive show ever produced by Netflix. Of the whopping $130 million that Netflix invested into the first two seasons, £30,000 (roughly $37,000) alone went into creating an exact replica of one of the most famous gowns in history: Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress.

With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where Queen Elizabeth’s famous wedding gown was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, Robson introduces listeners to three unforgettable heroines whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.

Read more and sample the audio →


Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words by Andrew Morton, narrated by Michael MaloneyCaroline Langrishe

Season four of The Crown introduced viewers to a young Lady Diana Spencer, who, two decades after her death, remains an icon and enigma. Andrew Morton’s blockbuster biography is a must-listen for any Princess Diana aficionados and is as close to an autobiography as we’ll ever get. Written using secret tapes recorded by Diana and Andrew Morton, Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words reveals Diana’s unhappy marriage, her relationship with the Queen, her extraordinary life inside the House of Windsor, her hopes, her fears, and her dreams. In this fully revised edition of his groundbreaking biography, Morton considers Diana’s legacy and her relevance to the modern royal family.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Queen’s Secret: A Novel of England’s World War II Queen by Karen Harper, narrated by Bianca Amato

Karen Harper’s The Queen’s Secret focuses on a different Queen Elizabeth: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother. As a steely, enduring figure who is resolutely devoted to the crown, the Queen Mother’s role in the show has grown ever more diminished as The Crown chugs forward in time and shifts the focus onto Queen Elizabeth’s children. So, for those who want more of Queen Mum, The Queen’s Secret will be sure to satisfy that craving.

In this riveting novel of royal secrets and intrigue, Karen Harper lifts the veil on one of the world’s most fascinating families, and how its “secret weapon” of a matriarch maneuvered her way through one of the most dangerous chapters of the century.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Woman Before Wallis: A Novel of Windsors, Vanderbilts, and Royal Scandal by Bryn Turnbull, narrated by Mary Jane Wells

Scores of books and movies have already been written about Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom King Edward abdicated the crown. The banished Duchess of Windsor made appearances in three out of four seasons of the show, but nothing has been said of Thelma Morgan, the American divorcée who captured Prince Edward’s heart before Wallis. In The Woman Before Wallis, Bryn Turnbull takes readers from the raucous glamour of the Paris Ritz and the French Riviera to the quiet, private corners of St. James’s Palace to tell a sweeping story of love, loyalty, and betrayal.

Read more and sample the audio →


Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn, narrated by Simon Prebble

If you want to switch gears for a more lighthearted royal story, Mrs Queen Takes the Train will absolutely be your cup of tea. William Kuhn draws listeners into a few delightful, fictitious days in the life of a modern monarch.

Queen Elizabeth, now elderly and feeling a bit low, pops down to the stables to check on her horses. Then, in a hoodie borrowed from stable lass Rebecca, the Queen strolls out of the palace in search of a little fun. This lively, wonderfully inventive romp takes listeners into the mind of the grand matriarch of Britain’s Royal Family, bringing us an endearing runaway Queen Elizabeth on the town.

Read more and sample the audio →


Royal by Danielle Steel, narrated by Nick Afka Thomas

Although Danielle Steel’s Royal isn’t based on any real-life monarchs, it’s got all the heartbreak, drama, and romance to satisfy everyone who’s trying to fill the royal-sized hole left behind by the latest season of The Crown.

As war rages on in the summer of 1943, the King and Queen choose to quietly send their youngest daughter, Princess Charlotte, away to safety to live with a trusted noble family in the country. In time, she settles comfortably into a life out of the spotlight, utterly in the dark about her royal lineage. But, when a stack of hidden letters comes to light, a secret kept for nearly two decades finally surfaces, and a long lost princess emerges.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Other Windsor Girl: A Novel of Princess Margaret, Royal Rebel by Georgie Blalock, narrated by Ann Marie Gideon

Revisit the whirlwind life of your favorite royal troublemaker through the eyes of one of her ladies-in-waiting in Georgie Blalock’s The Other Windsor Girl. In dreary post-war Britain, Vera Strathmore, the daughter of an impoverished noble is swept into the fame and notoriety of the royal family and Princess Margaret’s fast-living friends when she is appointed as Margaret’s second lady-in-waiting. Thrust into the center of Margaret’s social and royal life, Vera watches the princess’s affairs unfurl with delicious drama.

Read more and sample the audio →


Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown, narrated by Eleanor Bron

From her iconic style to her rebellious spirit, it’s no wonder Princess Margaret aroused passion and indignation in equal measures. If you’re dying to learn more about the most talked-about English royal, look no further. Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogs, and essays, Craig Brown’s Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.

Read more and sample the audio →


Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, narrated by Omid Scobie

Fans who were hoping to see the latest Harry and Meghan royal drama play out on screen will be disappointed. The Crown creator Peter Morgan has confirmed the series’s sixth and final season will focus on the administrations of John Major and Tony Blair, the latter of which happened nearly a decade before Harry and Meghan met.

But, fret not! There’s plenty of material to dive into as Harry and Meghan’s saga unfolds. Finding Freedom by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie is the first in-depth and intimate portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s life together. With unique access and written with the participation of those closest to the couple, Finding Freedom reveals why they chose to pursue a more independent path and the reasons behind their unprecedented decision to step away from their royal lives.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 2: Political Scandal, Personal Struggle, and the Years that Defined Elizabeth II (1956-1977) by Robert Lacey, narrated by Alex Jennings

Finally, your essential The Crown listening list wouldn’t be complete without Robert Lacey’s official companion book. As the show’s historical consultant, Lacey takes listeners through the real history that inspired the drama. Volume one covers the show’s first season from 1947 to 1955, while volume two covers the second and third seasons from 1956 to 1977. Extensively researched, Lacey’s companion audiobooks offer an in-depth exploration from behind the palace gates.

Read more and sample the audio →


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

October’s Top 10 Audiobooks.com Member Downloads

Listen to last month’s most popular fiction and non-fiction titles downloaded by Audiobooks.com members.



Fiction


A Time for Mercy by John Grisham, narrated by Michael Beck

Publisher Summary:

Clanton, Mississippi. 1990. Jake Brigance finds himself embroiled in a deeply divisive trial when the court appoints him attorney for Drew Gamble, a timid sixteen-year-old boy accused of murdering a local deputy. Many in Clanton want a swift trial and the death penalty, but Brigance digs in and discovers that there is more to the story than meets the eye. Jake’s fierce commitment to saving Drew from the gas chamber puts his career, his financial security, and the safety of his family on the line.

In what may be the most personal and accomplished legal thriller of John Grisham’s storied career, we deepen our acquaintance with the iconic Southern town of Clanton and the vivid cast of characters that so many readers know and cherish. The result is a richly rewarding novel that is both timely and timeless, full of wit, drama, and—most of all—heart.

Bursting with all the courthouse scheming, small-town intrigue, and stunning plot twists that have become the hallmarks of the master of the legal thriller, A Time for Mercy is John Grisham’s most powerful courtroom drama yet.

There is a time to kill and a time for justice. Now comes A Time for Mercy.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Return by Nicholas Sparks, narrated by Kyf Brewer

Publisher Summary:

Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, North Carolina. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, the dilapidated cabin he’d inherited from his grandfather seemed as good a place to regroup as any.

Tending to his grandfather’s beloved beehives, Trevor isn’t prepared to fall in love with a local . . . yet, from their very first encounter, Trevor feels a connection with deputy sheriff Natalie Masterson that he can’t ignore. But even as she seems to reciprocate his feelings, she remains frustratingly distant, making Trevor wonder what she’s hiding.

Further complicating his stay in New Bern is the presence of a sullen teenage girl, Callie, who lives in the trailer park down the road. Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather’s death, but she offers few clues—until a crisis triggers a race to uncover the true nature of Callie’s past, one more intertwined with the elderly man’s passing than Trevor could ever have imagined.

In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie’s secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that in life, to move forward, we must often return to the place where it all began.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Sentinel: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child and Andrew Child, narrated by Scott Brick

Publisher Summary:

As always, Reacher has no particular place to go, and all the time in the world to get there. One morning he ends up in a town near Pleasantville, Tennessee.

But there’s nothing pleasant about the place.

In broad daylight Reacher spots a hapless soul walking into an ambush. “It was four against one” . . . so Reacher intervenes, with his own trademark brand of conflict resolution.

The man he saves is Rusty Rutherford, an unassuming IT manager, recently fired after a cyberattack locked up the town’s data, records, information . . . and secrets. Rutherford wants to stay put, look innocent, and clear his name.

Reacher is intrigued. There’s more to the story. The bad guys who jumped Rutherford are part of something serious and deadly, involving a conspiracy, a cover-up, and murder—all centered on a mousy little guy in a coffee-stained shirt who has no idea what he’s up against.

Rule one: if you don’t know the trouble you’re in, keep Reacher by your side.

Read more and sample the audio →


The Searcher by Tana French, narrated by Roger Clark

Publisher Summary:

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.

Read more and sample the audio →


Troubles in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand, narrated by Erin Bennett

Publisher Summary:

After uprooting her life in the States, Irene Steele has just settled in at the villa on St. John where her husband Russ had been living a double life. But a visit from the FBI shakes her foundations, and Irene once again learns just how little she knew about the man she loved. 

With help from their friends, Irene and her sons set up their lives while evidence mounts that the helicopter crash that killed Russ may not have been an accident. Meanwhile, the island watches this drama unfold—including the driver of a Jeep with tinted windows who seems to be shadowing the Steele family.

As a storm gathers strength in the Atlantic, surprises are in store for the Steeles: help from a mysterious source, and a new beginning in the paradise that has become their home. At last all will be revealed about the secrets and lies that brought Irene and her sons to St. John—and the truth that transformed them all.

Read more and sample the audio →



Non-Fiction


Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, narrated by Matthew McConaughey

Publisher Summary:

I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.

Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges—how to get relative with the inevitable—you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights.”

So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops.

Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.

It’s a love letter. To life.

It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights—and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.

Good luck.

Read more and sample the audio →


Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day by Jay Shetty, narrated by Jay Shetty

Publisher Summary:

Jay Shetty, social media superstar and host of the #1 podcast On Purpose, distills the timeless wisdom he learned as a monk into practical steps anyone can take every day to live a less anxious, more meaningful life.

Shetty grew up in a family where you could become one of three things—a doctor, a lawyer, or a failure. His family was convinced he had chosen option three: instead of attending his college graduation ceremony, he headed to India to become a monk, to meditate every day for four to eight hours, and devote his life to helping others. After three years, one of his teachers told him that he would have more impact on the world if he left the monk’s path to share his experience and wisdom with others. Heavily in debt, and with no recognizable skills on his résumé, he moved back home in north London with his parents.

Shetty reconnected with old school friends—many working for some of the world’s largest corporations—who were experiencing tremendous stress, pressure, and unhappiness, and they invited Shetty to coach them on well-being, purpose, and mindfulness. Since then, Shetty has become one of the world’s most popular influencers. In 2017, he was named in the Forbes magazine 30-under-30 for being a game-changer in the world of media. In 2018, he had the #1 video on Facebook with over 360 million views. His social media following totals over 38 million, he has produced over 400 viral videos which have amassed more than 8 billion views, and his podcast, On Purpose, is consistently ranked the world’s #1 Health and Wellness podcast.

In this inspiring, empowering book, Shetty draws on his time as a monk to show us how we can clear the roadblocks to our potential and power. Combining ancient wisdom and his own rich experiences in the ashram, Think Like a Monk reveals how to overcome negative thoughts and habits, and access the calm and purpose that lie within all of us. He transforms abstract lessons into advice and exercises we can all apply to reduce stress, improve relationships, and give the gifts we find in ourselves to the world. Shetty proves that everyone can—and should—think like a monk.

Read more and sample the audio →


Rage by Bob Woodward, narrated by Robert Petkoff

Publisher Summary:

Bob Woodward, the #1 international bestselling author of Fear: Trump in the White House, has uncovered the precise moment the president was warned that the Covid-19 epidemic would be the biggest national security threat to his presidency. In dramatic detail, Woodward takes readers into the Oval Office as Trump’s head pops up when he is told in January 2020 that the pandemic could reach the scale of the 1918 Spanish Flu that killed 675,000 Americans.

In 17 on-the-record interviews with Woodward over seven volatile months—an utterly vivid window into Trump’s mind—the president provides a self-portrait that is part denial and part combative interchange mixed with surprising moments of doubt as he glimpses the perils in the presidency and what he calls the “dynamite behind every door.”

At key decision points, Rage shows how Trump’s responses to the crises of 2020 were rooted in the instincts, habits and style he developed during his first three years as president.

Revisiting the earliest days of the Trump presidency, Rage reveals how Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats struggled to keep the country safe as the president dismantled any semblance of collegial national security decision making.

Rage draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand witnesses as well as participants’ notes, emails, diaries, calendars and confidential documents.

Woodward obtained 25 never-seen personal letters exchanged between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who describes the bond between the two leaders as out of a “fantasy film.”

Trump insists to Woodward he will triumph over Covid-19 and the economic calamity. “Don’t worry about it, Bob. Okay?” Trump told the author in July. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll get to do another book. You’ll find I was right.”

Read more and sample the audio →


Didn’t See That Coming: Putting Life Back Together When Your World Falls Apart by Rachel Hollis, narrated by Rachel Hollis

Fear. Grief. Loss. Betrayal. Rachel Hollis has felt all those things, and she knows you have too. Now, she takes you to the other side. 

With her signature humor, heartfelt honesty, and intimate true-life stories, #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hollis shows readers how to seize difficult moments for the learning experiences they are and the value and growth they provide.

Rachel Hollis sees you. As the millions who read her #1 New York Times bestsellers Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing, attend her RISE conferences and follow her on social media know, she also wants to see you transform. 

When it comes to the “hard seasons” of life—the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job—transformation seems impossible when grief and uncertainty dominate your days. Especially when, as Didn’t See that Coming reveals, no one asks to have their future completely rearranged for them. But, as Rachel writes, it is up to you how you come through your pain—you can come through changed for the better, having learned and grown, or stuck in place where your identity becomes rooted in what hurt you. 

To Rachel, a life well-lived is one of purpose, focused only on the essentials. This is a small book about big feelings: inspirational, aspirational, and an anchor that shows that darkness can co-exist with the beautiful.

Read more and sample the audio →


Is this Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld, narrated by Jerry Seinfeld

Publisher Summary:

The first book in twenty-five years from Jerry Seinfeld features his best work across five decades in comedy.

Since his first performance at the legendary New York nightclub “Catch a Rising Star” as a twenty-one-year-old college student in fall of 1975, Jerry Seinfeld has written his own material and saved everything. “Whenever I came up with a funny bit, whether it happened on a stage, in a conversation, or working it out on my preferred canvas, the big yellow legal pad, I kept it in one of those old school accordion folders,” Seinfeld writes. “So I have everything I thought was worth saving from forty-five years of hacking away at this for all I was worth.”

For this book, Jerry Seinfeld has selected his favorite material, organized decade by decade. In page after hilarious page, one brilliantly crafted observation after another, readers will witness the evolution of one of the great comedians of our time and gain new insights into the thrilling but unforgiving art of writing stand-up comedy.

Read more and sample the audio →


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Staff Pick: ‘A Deadly Education’ by Naomi Novik

Title: A Deadly Education

Author: Naomi Novik

Narrator: Anisha Dadia

Can anyone say with absolute confidence that they had a good high school experience? Are there people out there for whom those long, cringe-worthy years didn’t turn into a black hole of memories you no longer talk, much less think, about once you’re safely outside the reaches of adolescence? It turns out even witches and wizards have a rough time of it at the magical Welsh school, Scholomance. Only, in addition to battling the crippling embarrassment of their teenage years, they also have to fight their way past the maleficaria—monsters with a particular thirst for young witches and wizards—just to graduate.

Now that’s rough.

A Deadly Education sees Nebula Award-winning author Naomi Novik returning to series form after her two previous standalones, Uprooted and Spinning Silver. Set at the Scholomance school in Wales, A Deadly Education follows prophesized villainess-to-be Galadriel, or El, who despite her affinity for dark magic is trying to thwart her ominous destiny. Her acerbic attitude keeps people at arm’s length—that is until she inadvertently catches the attention of school darling Orion Lake. She could care less, though. All she wants to do is keep her dark powers in check and maybe, hopefully, form an alliance by graduation so she can make it out of the Scholomance alive.

I was primed to love this audiobook because my two guilty pleasures just happen to be books about witches and books about boarding schools. But even the most magic-adverse person would find themselves hard-pressed to not love El in her more vulnerable moments. Novik’s masterful ability to create memorable characters is on full display here, and narrator Anisha Dadia’s animated performance only serves to heighten El’s sharp tongue and no-nonsense attitude. If you’ve been searching for the antihero of your dreams, look no further—El is your gal.

Clocking in at just under 11 hours, A Deadly Education is a thrilling ride that puts an unexpected spin on the magic school genre. In a world where students learn magic or literally die trying, you can’t help but root for these hapless young pupils as they risk their lives to stand in the cafeteria line.

Novik has once again proven herself to be one of the most imaginative fantasy writers of our time. With A Deadly Education, she has created an endlessly fascinating albeit grotesque world for listeners to discover. Just proceed with caution and make sure the maleficaria don’t get you.

Publisher Summary:

I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life.

Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans.

I don’t need help surviving the Scholomance, even if they do. Forget the hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts, I’m probably the most dangerous thing in the place. Just give me a chance and I’ll level mountains and kill untold millions, make myself the dark queen of the world.

At least, that’s what the world expects. Most of the other students in here would be delighted if Orion killed me like one more evil thing that’s crawled out of the drains. Sometimes I think they want me to turn into the evil witch they assume I am. The school certainly does.

But the Scholomance isn’t getting what it wants from me. And neither is Orion Lake. I may not be anyone’s idea of the shining hero, but I’m going to make it out of this place alive, and I’m not going to slaughter thousands to do it, either.

Although I’m giving serious consideration to just one.

With flawless mastery, Naomi Novik creates a school bursting with magic like you’ve never seen before, and a heroine for the ages—a character so sharply realized and so richly nuanced that she will live on in hearts and minds for generations to come.


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Interview with C.L. Polk, Author of ‘The Midnight Bargain’

If you’re an ardent fantasy fan, then you’ll know C.L. Polk from her World Fantasy Award-winning debut, Witchmark, the first entry in the Kingston Cycle series. This year, she’s stepping away from the world of the Kingston Cycle with her first standalone novel, The Midnight Bargain, which follows sorceress Beatrice Clayborn who must make a choice between her family and her ability to cast magic.

We got the chance to pick C.L. Polk’s brain about audiobooks, what inspired her to write The Midnight Bargain, and which book she’s most looking forward to this year. Keep reading to see what she had to say.


Audiobooks.com: What can readers gain from listening to the audiobook version of The Midnight Bargain that they might not necessarily get from reading the print version?

C. L. Polk: I really love audiobooks because they’re my perfect accompaniment on walks, while commuting, and even washing the dishes at home. The Midnight Bargain is enhanced by the companionable feeling of listening to someone read to you, bringing the voices of the characters and the world to life, all so the story can take you away.


Audiobooks.com: This will be your second collaboration with narrator Moira Quirk, who also narrated your previous audiobook Stormsong. How involved are you in the casting process and what do you look for in an audiobook narrator?

C. L. Polk: I was so happy to have Moira Quirk reading for me again. She really brought Grace to life in Stormsong. My involvement in the casting process is limited, so I’m very lucky to have Moira again!


Audiobooks.com: This is your first standalone novel. How did it feel to venture away from your Kingston Cycle series?

C. L. Polk: I really enjoyed writing The Midnight Bargain. I had been spending years in the world of the Kingston Cycle, and as the trilogy was coming to a close, it was time to do something different, and Beatrice’s story was waiting there, fresh and different and twirling in a circle to make all those skirts bell out. It’s always bittersweet when a saga comes to an end, but The Midnight Bargain was far too absorbing a project for me to feel sad about the end for long.


Audiobooks.com: The Midnight Bargain grapples with a world in which women forfeit the right to practice magic after marriage in order to protect their unborn children. Why did you decide to explore the issue of reproductive rights through a fantastical lens? What did the genre allow you to do or say that you otherwise couldn’t have?

C. L. Polk: This is what I always do. I’m writing about different worlds where magic is real—but the problems our world faces are problems there, too. I had the beginnings of The Midnight Bargain in my head for a few weeks, but I wasn’t really getting the traction I needed to make the story fly. But current events had me thinking about reproductive rights, and how we still have to fight, sometimes bare-knuckled, to control our lives. But to talk about that in a fantasy story, I had to provide a better reason than just warring opinions. The idea of the spiritborn provided that reason.


Audiobooks.com: Do you think you’ll ever return to Beatrice Clayborn’s story in the future?

C. L. Polk: I think if I did return to the world, I would have to tell a different character’s story, and so far, no one has volunteered! I think they’re wary of the ordeal Beatrice went through, honestly.


Audiobooks.com: In addition to your book projects, you also run a blog about the craft of writing. What advice do you have for all of the aspiring writers out there?

C. L. Polk: To thine own self be true. Write what you love. Please yourself. Always prioritize your enjoyment. Writing novels is hard work. it takes a long time. And you need to love the book for years and years afterward.


Audiobooks.com: What’s one book, real or one you wish was real, that you’re dying to read or listen to?

C. L. Polk: I need to read Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse. I loved her Sixth World books so much, and I’ve been dying to get my hands on her new series since the announcement.


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

7 Terrifying Book to Screen Adaptations of 2020

Brace yourselves, bookworms, Halloween is going to be extra scary this year, and not just because of COVID-19 and the imminent end of the world. If you’re the type who likes to hunker down with a pile of blankets and binge-watch nothing but horror flicks in October, then you’re in luck because there’s a slew of terrifying adaptations to dive into this fall. From a classic nightmarish Stephen King tale to new takes on old scares, there are plenty of options for those looking to get their horror fix.


The Outsider by Stephen King, narrated by Will Patton

Release date: Currently streaming on HBO

Photo: HBO

It’s just not a proper, spooky October if you don’t watch at least one Stephen King adaptation. Luckily, the latest adaptation of King’s bestseller The Outsider is as creepy as they come. Set in the fictional Flint City, Oklahoma, The Outsider is a classic King horror-thriller that begins with the rape and murder of an 11-year-old boy. The miniseries stars Jason Bateman as Terry Maitland, the once-beloved baseball coach accused of the crime, and Ben Mendelsohn as Ralph Anderson, the lead detective on the case, along with Cynthia Erivo and Bill Camp. Whether you already binged the series when it released back in January, or you’re just getting around to it now, October is the perfect time to dive into this nightmarish tale.

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I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid, narrated by Candace Thaxton

Release date: Currently streaming on Netflix

Photo: Netflix

September brought the chills with the release of I’m Thinking of Ending Things. Adapted from Iain Reid’s award-winning novel of the same name, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is one heck of a psychological thriller about a man and his girlfriend who are on their way to visit his parents at a secluded farm. The adaptation features horror fan favorites Jesse Plemons as Jake and Toni Colette as Jake’s mother, with Jessie Buckley starring as “The Young Woman,” who is Jake’s girlfriend, and David Thewlis as Jake’s father.

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The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock, narrated by Mark Bramhall

Release date: Currently streaming on Netflix

Photo: Glen Wilson/Netflix

Donald Ray Pollock’s award-winning blood-filled Southern gothic is streaming on the small screen with a star-studded cast. The adaptation, set between World War II and the Vietnam War, follows a group of sinister characters living in Ohio and West Virginia and will feature an ensemble cast including Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland, Jason Clarke, Riley Keough, Sebastian Stan, Eliza Scanlan, Bill Skarsgård, Mia Wasikowska, Harry Melling, and Haley Bennett.

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The Turn of the Screw (adapted as The Haunting of Bly Manor) by Henry James, narrated by Jefferson MaysBianca Amato

Release date: Currently streaming on Netflix

Photo: Eike Schroter/Netflix

2020 will see not one but two adaptations of Henry James’s novella, The Turn of the Screw. The first, which released earlier in the year, was a modern take on the 1898 ghost story. The second adaptation will be led by The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan and follows on the heels of the highly successful 2018 horror series. The second season, adapted as The Haunting of Bly Manor, follows a governess who, while caring for two orphans in the remote English countryside, begins to experience strange phenomenons. Among the returning cast is Victoria Pedretti, who’s swapping the role of the ill-fated Nell Crain for Dani Clayton, the American governess tasked with looking after the children.

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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, narrated by Anna Massey

Release Date: October 21, Netflix

Photo: Kerry Brown/Netflix

2020 will see us all going to Manderley again with a new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier‘s 1938 gothic thriller, Rebecca, this time with Lily James taking on the role of Mrs. de Winter and Armie Hammer as her aristocratic, brooding husband, Maxim. The adaptation follows the pair of newlyweds as they begin their new life together at Maxim’s massive country estate. It is only when they arrive that Mrs. de Winter realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives—presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

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The Witches by Roald Dahl, narrated by Miranda Richardson

Release date: October 22, HBO Max

Photo: Warner Bros.

An all-new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, the book that’s been fueling every kid’s nightmares since its release in 1983, is set to premiere on HBO Max just in time for Halloween. The Witches follows 7-year-old Luke who stumbles upon a secret coven of child-hating witches, whose plans he must put a stop to with the help of his grandmother. Anne Hathaway leads the adaptation as the evil Grand High Witch, with Octavia Spencer as Luke’s grandmother, and newcomer Jahzir Kadeem Bruno as Luke.

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Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, narrated by Kenneth Branagh

Release date: October 23

Photo: Rob Youngson/Twentieth Century Fox

Hercule Poirot is back and his mustache is bigger and better than ever! This time, viewers are being whisked to Egypt where Poirot is being pulled into a murder investigation while he’s vacationing aboard a luxury cruise ship. The adaptation will see Kenneth Branagh reprising his role as the Belgian detective along with a star-studded cast featuring Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Letitia Wright, Emma Mackey, Annette Bening, Sophie Okonedo, Russell Brand, Rose Leslie, and Ali Fazal.

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New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

Listen Your Way to Better Sleep with Audiobooks

Since there’s nothing better than curling up in bed with a good audiobook, we’ve created a new genre of top titles that are perfect for bedtime listening. From mindfulness and meditation lessons to hand-picked bedtime stories, there’s something for every nighttime listener. Plus, our handy sleep timer will snooze your audiobook when you snooze.

Learn more about Audiobooks.com’s sleep timer below and check out our top picks of audiobooks that will help you get a great night’s sleep.



How to use Audiobooks.com’s sleep timer


1) Open up the Audiobooks.com app

2) Navigate to the audiobook you’re listening to

3) Tap the moon icon at the bottom of the screen

4) Simply select the amount of time to play your audiobook for as you fall asleep, hit “Apply,” and the audiobook will automatically pause when your sleep timer is up



Guided meditations for better sleep


Sleep Well: Guided Relaxations and Meditations for a Good Night’s Sleep by Sue Fuller, narrated by Sue Fuller

Publisher Summary:

Sleep is vital for health and well-being. Sleep Well contains six different guided audio practices that have been devised specifically to help relax both body and mind and encourage restful sleep so that you wake feeling refreshed, recharged, and rejuvenated. They are to be followed at the end of the day prior to falling asleep or if you wake during the night and struggle to go back to sleep. These audios will encourage deep relaxation. By making relaxation your goal, falling asleep becomes so much easier.

Sleep Well contains “Relaxations for Sleep,” “More Relaxations for Sleep,” and “Meditations for Sleep,” all by leading yoga teacher Sue Fuller. “Relaxations for Sleep” contains two different thirty-minute guided relaxation sessions that will deeply relax your body and mind, leading you into a fantastic sleep from which you will wake feeling calm, refreshed, and revitalized. “More Relaxations for Sleep” also contains two thirty-minute guided relaxation sessions created to clear your mind, relax your whole body, and lead you into a fantastic, deep, refreshing sleep. “Meditations for Sleep” contains two thirty-minute guided meditation sessions created to help relax and clear the mind, so that the body can relax, sleep hormones will be produced, and falling asleep is achievable.

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Guided Meditations for Sleep, Anxiety and Self Healing Bundle: 3 Beginners Scripts for Stress Relief, letting go, having a quiet Mind in difficult Times and overcome Trauma by Mindfulness Meditation Academy, narrated by Jane Lee

Publisher Summary:

Defeat anxiety, reach deep sleep, and heal yourself with this Guided Meditations Bundle! Listen to the calm voice and beat of this 3 in 1 guided meditations bundle to heal yourself and relieve stress in a few minutes!
Guided meditations play an important role when it comes to self-healing and anxiety relief practices. Listening to a soft voice guiding you through the practice is the best way to get the most out of your meditation session.

Jane, our narrator, will guide you with the calm tone of her voice, allowing you to heal yourself reaching deep levels of relaxation and relief.

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Yoga Nidra for Sleep: Guided Meditation for Deep, Transcendental Sleep by Mindfulness Habits Team, narrated by Loula Taylor

Publisher Summary:

Do you want to access the deepest states of relaxation?

Yoga nidra, otherwise known as “sleep of the yogis,” is an accessible meditation practice that cultivates wellbeing on multiple levels. This simple practice of guided, deep relaxation promotes deep rest.

The technique incorporates a detailed body scan with awareness placed on the breath and the sensation of relaxation, part by part. Yoga nidra helps to calm the nervous system, reduce your stress level and enhance general health.

The easiest way to accommodate a yoga nidra practice is to make it part of your daily bedtime routine as a way to help you unwind for the night. Even if you fall asleep, you’ll still receive benefits as the unconscious mind continues to absorb this powerful practice.

Yoga nidra provides you with a space to relax and fully embody your physical and subtle bodies, as well as an opportunity to let go of any long-held emotions that arise. Each of the 3 guided meditations is 20 minutes long and features three soothing background music options, enabling you to customize the meditation to your preference.

Even if you’re new to meditation, this book can help you create a life-changing practice that allows you to relax more profoundly and be more energetic and effective during your waking hours.

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The Best Guided Sleep Meditation for Insomnia: Fall Asleep Fast and Get a Full Night’s Rest with Deep Relaxation Techniques by Peace Found Now, narrated by Zachary Miulli

Publisher Summary:

The Best Guided Sleep Meditation for Insomnia: Fall Asleep Fast and Get a Full Night’s Rest with Deep Relaxation Techniques by Peace Found Now is an in-depth, guided meditation designed to help anyone having trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, or other symptoms of insomnia get the deep, refreshing sleep that we all need. This helpful audiobook features relaxation techniques, an extended guided meditation, and a dream sequence with a soothing voice and peaceful music. The techniques will completely calm and relax your mind and body so that you can get the sleep that you need. The audiobook can be used in a private setting or taken with you when you travel. You may even enjoy the guided meditation with a friend. It will always be available for your use whenever you need help falling asleep.

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Bedtime stories for adults


Bedtime Stories for Grown-ups by Ben Holden, narrated by Gareth ArmstrongSandra DuncanLuke ThompsonEsther WaneBen Holden

Publisher Summary:

There are few more precious routines than that of the bedtime story. So why do we discard this invaluable ritual as grown-ups to the detriment of our well-being and good health?

In this groundbreaking anthology, Ben Holden, editor of the bestselling Poems That Make Grown Men Cry, challenges how we think about life, a third of which is spent asleep. He deftly explores not only the science of sleep but also why we endlessly tell stories—even to ourselves, as we dream.

Holden combines his own illuminating storytelling with a treasure trove of timeless classics and contemporary gems. Poems and short stories, fairy tales and fables, reveries and nocturnes—from William Shakespeare to Haruki Murakami, Charles Dickens to Roald Dahl, Rabindranath Tagore to Nora Ephron, Vladimir Nabokov to Neil Gaiman—are all woven together to replicate the journey of a single night’s sleep.

Some of today’s greatest storytellers reveal their choice of the ideal grown-up bedtime story: writers such as Margaret Drabble, Ken Follett, Tessa Hadley, Robert Macfarlane, Patrick Ness, Tony Robinson and Warsan Shire.
Fold away your laptop and shut down your mobile phone. Curl up and crash out with the ultimate bedside book, one you’ll return to again and again. Full of laughter and tears, moonlight and magic, Bedtime Stories for Grown-ups joyfully provides the dream way to end the day—and begin the night.

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Penguin Sleep Tales: Ten stories to help you relax at night and encourage better sleep by Penguin, narrated by Sally Scott

Publisher Summary:

How often do you think about your bedtime routine?

Almost half of people in Britain say they’re kept awake at night due to worry and stress—so making time to switch off in the hour before bed is more important than ever.

Penguin Sleep Tales are ten specially designed descriptive audio tales to help you wind down and relax before you drift off.

Developed with The Sleep Council, each track will transport you to a different location, encouraging you to visualise calming settings and landscapes to ease away the day’s anxiety or worry and get you in the right frame of mind for sleep.

Lie in a hammock on a tropical beach, relax by a campfire or shelter from a distant thunderstorm. These mindful tales are read slowly and soothingly, accompanied by relaxing sounds of nature.

One has been specially designed to appeal to those with Auto Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR), a physical reaction to sound which can be particularly relaxing.

Create a focused, peaceful environment so you can get a deep, natural night’s sleep and wake up refreshed in the morning. The perfect de-stressor after a long day.

Each track is 15 minutes long, so you can put your sleep timer on for any duration with no need to return to the screen.

So dim the lights, and get ready for a good night’s rest.

Includes ten relaxing tales: ‘Wakarango Mai’, ‘Hammock on a Distant Shore’, ‘The Purring Temple’, ‘Pegasus in the Night Sky’, ‘Dancing Flames’, ‘A Bothy in a Storm’, ‘The Warm Smell of Hay’, ‘Travel on the Overnight Train’, ‘The Magic Bookshop’ (ASMR story) and ‘Yara’s Song’ (inspired by the Brazilian folk tale ‘The Story of Yara’).

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Sherlock Holmes: Valley of Fear: Book at Bedtime by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, narrated by Ian McKellen

Publisher Summary:

Sir Ian McKellen reads The Valley of Fear, the last of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s four Sherlock Holmes novels. The mystery begins with a coded warning of imminent danger, drawing the illustrious Sherlock Holmes and the faithful Dr. Watson to a secluded English country home. A trail of bewildering clues leads to sleuthing in the finest Holmesian tradition and the gripping backstory of a cult that terrorized a valley in the American West. First broadcast as Book at Bedtime on BBC Radio 4.

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Bedtime Stories for the Overwhelmed Adult: 2 in 1 Bundle: Sleep Meditation Stories to Find Your Inner Calm, Fall Asleep Fast, and Wake up Energized by Mindfulness Habits Team, narrated by Loula Taylor

Publisher Summary:

There’s a reason psychologists and child experts suggest reading a bedtime story to your kid.

Listening to a soothing, relaxing, and fun story before you close your eyes can help you unwind faster and enjoy deeper sleep.

Are you too old to jump into your parents’ bed and ask them to read you a bedtime story? No problem!

Our Bedtime Stories for the Overwhelmed Adult: 2 in 1 Bundle includes two audiobooks for busy, stressed adults: “Bedtime Stories for Stressed Adults: Sleep Meditation Stories to Melt Stress and Fall Asleep Fast Every Night” and “Bedtime Stories for Busy Adults: Sleep Meditation Stories to Find Your Inner Calm, Fall Asleep Fast, and Wake up Energized.”

It’s time to spoil your mind, body, and soul with a generous dose of calmness and serenity.

Read more and sample the audio →



Soothing sounds to help you relax


Tropical Rainforest and Ocean Waves: The Better Sleep System – The Smarter Way to Fall Asleep Fast and Stay Asleep: Deep Sleep Hypnosis and Meditation with Natural Relaxing Sounds by Sara Stevenson, narrated by Tiana Hanson

Publisher Summary:

Do you have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep? 

Cure your insomnia with the best natural sleep therapy you can get. Turn on the audio and relax as the soothing ocean waves and tropical rainforest sounds of a secluded beach in Costa Rica effortlessly lull you to sleep. Each audio is the perfect 8 hours in length for the optimal night’s sleep. 

Simply start the audio when going to bed and when the soothing sounds end its time to get up, it’s that simple! At the end of eight hours, you’ve achieved the perfect night’s sleep and you will feel totally rested, rejuvenated, and ready to attack the day!

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Soothing Sounds by Twin Sisters Productions, narrated by Kopperhead Compositions

Publisher Summary:

Authentic household sounds create a sleep environment for baby and anyone in the household in need of a good night’s sleep.

Track List:
1. Clothes Dryer Drone
2. Window Fan Hum
3. Pitter-Patter Bathwater
4. Vacuum Cleaner Rumble
5. White Noise
6. A Ride In The Car

Read more and sample the audio →


New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!